Meural's smart Canvas 3.0 will let you throw art on different sized frames

CES 2019: A smaller size will make the digital frame more affordable

Meural's smart canvas gets cheaper for 2019
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Despite much skepticism, Meural's digital art Canvas won me over with its knack of making digital images look uncannily real. And for 2019 the company is launching Canvas 3.0, adding a new smaller size, some new frames, and a few other improvements.

The core product is the same: the Canvas is a digital display for showcasing works of art in your home. Unlike your average digital photo frame, the Meural Canvas uses a matte screen that adjusts its brightness to the room, making the pictures look authentic.

Read this: All the big news from CES 2019

The third-generation model adds a new 21.5-inch size, which will live alongside the 27-inch model. The larger canvas is a hefty beast, but the smaller frame also add some variety. Vladimir Vukicevic, Meural co-founder, told me that most people who buy a Meural Canvas are buying more than one, so it hopes that adding the smaller size will let people mix and match.

It's also making some under-the-hood tweaks on both models, including improved Wi-Fi and support for Power over Ethernet. There are those new modular frames too, with four colors to choose from: black, white, light wood and dark wood. If you want to really show off your art in style, there's an easel accessory coming too.

This is the first product launched since Meural was acquired by Netgear, one of the company's earliest investors. That support will help Meural push the new canvases out to retailers, as to date it's only sold directly and through Amazon. "Generation three is what we consider to be the mainstream product," said Vukicevic.

Meural offers an optional $50 annual membership to access over 30,000 works of art that can be displayed on the Canvas. Vukicevic says that 70% of buyers opt for the subscription, and the company will be adding more collections through 2019 including some from National Geographic and Norman Rockwell. Right now Meural isn't saying how much the new frames will cost or when they'll be available.

"We're trying to be the creative center of the smart home," said Vukicevic. "If we do our jobs right, tens of millions of people can have access to art in a new way that happened to other forms of media - music, film, television, literature - why can't it be art as well?"

"The overall missing remains the same: How do we make art more accessible? How do we make art more personal? And how do we make art more fun?"

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